Monday, January 26, 2015

Rafael Martinez, Jr. Trial - Day 1, Jury Selection

Exclusive T&T coverage on this case can be found HERE.

UPDATE: spelling, clarity; corrected Blankstein's new assignment

Monday January 26, 2015
Jury selection started this morning at the Van Nuys Courthouse, Dept. V, in the cold case murder trial of Rafael Martinez, Jr.

Martinez is charged with felony murder in the September 1997 stabbing deaths of Nancy Boehm (pronounced Beem) and her son Shawn Boehm, 23.  Jury selection is expected to take anywhere from three to five days. The trial is expected to last three to four weeks.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Akemon is prosecuting, Tom Burns with the Alternate Public Defender's Office is representing the defendant and Judge Susan Speer is presiding over the case.

It is expected that DNA experts will testify that the defendant's DNA was found under Nancy Boehm's fingernails.

The last time I attended a trial in the Van Nuys Courthouse was in 2004-2005, when I attended a good portion of the Robert Blake trial. It's where I first met seasoned LA Times reporter Andrew Blankstein (now with NBC news) and fascinating KFI reporter Eric Leonard. I was a big fan of Leonard's reporting long before I met him. I also briefly met Dominick Dunne at that trial and got him to sign one of his books for me.

The prosecutor in the Blake case, Shellie Samuels, is now a judge in this same courthouse. During that trial, I remember speaking to Judge Samuels in the ladies restroom, telling her I thought she was doing a fantastic job. I also remember an incident in the basement cafeteria.  Towards the very end of the trial, or possibly even during jury deliberations, a reporter from People Magazine showed up. They had not attended any of the trial. The reporter actually walked up to the jurors while they were eating lunch and tried to ask them some questions.

I'll never forget how angry Judge Darlene Schempp was when she confronted the reporter on the record in open court.

I should add that I have attended pretrial hearings at the Van Nuys Courthouse in the Lois Goodman case, however, that case was dismissed and there was no trial. 

Day 2, Jury Selection, Martinez trial...